In 2008, a bestselling book titled “The Necklace: Thirteen Women and The Experiment That Transformed Their Lives” chronicled what happened after several women pitched in to buy a single $37,000 necklace and took monthly turns possessing it.
Lake Cares Food Pantry now hopes to change the lives of its growing roster of clients by borrowing a page from The Necklace. Lake County jeweler Gold in Art Jewelers designed Lake Cares’ version of the necklace christened “Bella Diamante” (“beautiful diamond”) to be raffled to raise money for the local non-profit’s cramped Mount Dora headquarters which cannot keep up with demand. Appraised at $21,500, the 18-inch, 14K gold necklace grabs attention with a one-carat center diamond orbited by 26 smaller diamonds totaling 3.51 carats.
Similar to the best-selling book, a Lake Cares committee secretly selected 12 women in the community with diverse backgrounds to get to know each other and each will wear the necklace for a month. Irene O'Malley, Lake Cares Executive Director, said the fundraiser builds excitement with the identifying of each of the ladies once they’ve had the necklace for a month.
A total of 1,000 raffle tickets are on sale now. Tickets are available in time for Mother's Day gifts and cost $50. First prize is the diamond necklace. The winner will be announced April 6, 2019 at the Lake Cares 10th Anniversary Gala. Second prize is $5,000 and third prize is $2,500. Tickets can be purchased online here or by calling (352) 973-1037 until the 1.000 are sold.
With one in six Central Floridians currently battling hunger and food insecurity, feeding the region remains an urgent concern. According to information provided by Lake Cares, 45,120 Lake County residents struggle with hunger. In 2017, the non-profit served 36,201 individuals, 10,695 families, and distributed more than 600,000 pounds of food.